Water Leaks Inside the Home
By Chris Hall
How do I know whether I have a water leak in my home?
Is it really that big of a deal? How do I find the leak?
These are some common questions homeowners deal with regards to water leaks that may or may not be apparent. Water can lead to extensive repair costs and significant damage to your home if left undetected and unrepaired.
One of the obvious signs that you have a water leak in your home is finding water stains on ceilings or observing water actively leaking from a fixture. These are pretty straightforward to identify that you have a problem. Another way to clue you in that there is water leaking from a pipe, fixture or appliance is a sudden, unexpected increase in your water bill. Anytime you see an unexpected hike in your water bill is a cause for concern and should prompt you to go searching for the culprit.
Toilets and sink fixtures are the most common areas to find active water leaks. Check your toilet for constant running which would indicate a float type issue in the tank. Inspect around the base of the toilet where it meets the floor for signs of water. Give the toilet a “wiggle” to see if it is firmly attached to the floor. When toilets loosen (or just over time), the wax seal underneath can become compromised and cause water to leak from the system. Damage can occur to the flooring and support structures underneath if left unrepaired. Check your sink fixtures and the plumbing connections underneath for water leaks. These areas often go without visual inspections for extended periods of time. Again, damage to cabinets and the floor structure can occur rather quickly if left.
These are just a few quick and easy ways to inspect for water leaks inside the home. It becomes more difficult to diagnose when plumbing supply lines are involved, such as when a pipe is leaking behind a wall. This may be a good time to call a plumbing professional to inspect and repair. Knowing where your water supply shutoff valve(s) are located is always a good idea in case of emergency. As always, whenever buying a home, a home inspection can help find these issues or damages caused by plumbing leaks and can save you significant money on home repairs. Also, your home inspector will find and document your main water shutoff valve for you, which can be greatly beneficial in a water related emergency.